UI’s next strategic plan aims to emphasize underrepresented minority retention, recruitment

Still in the drafting process, the 2022-2027 strategic plan will aim to emphasize underrepresented minority recruitment and retention as part of the diversity, equity, and inclusion pillar.


Contributed photo of Moala Bannavti.

Arabia Parkey, News Reporter

The University of Iowa is hosting listening sessions and focus groups for its 2022-27 strategic plan, aiming to increase the retention and recruitment of underrepresented minority community members in its diversity, equity, and inclusion core pillar.

The upcoming strategic plan is in its drafting process and will be announced in June with implementation beginning later this summer.

The strategic plan’s process has three major phases: development, implementation and evaluation, and outcomes.

In the development process, four development teams, including a diversity, equity, and inclusion team, made up of faculty, staff and students held listening sessions and focus groups to submit draft plans to a strategy team.

Moala Bannavti, president of the UI Graduate and Professional Student Government, said the diversity, equity, and inclusion development team includes population-specific support groups tasked with evaluating a series of questions about the progress of population-specific support on campus.

The committee asked where the university has been falling short on support, the current resources available to groups, and if there are clear reporting lines when groups have issues within the UI.

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“We were answering a lot of questions like that to try and think about what types of things we wanted to put as goals, objectives and strategies in the overall strategic plan,” Bannavti said.

The current drafts of the new strategic plan seem to be more accessible and readable, Bannavti said, which is beneficial for those interested in applying for work at the UI, as new applicants often read the plan before applying.

“The DEI pillar is just one of three sections of it but the strategic plan itself, President Wilson has done a very good job of revamping the process, because the plan is traditionally very long, very tedious to read,” Bannavti said.

Bannavti said one of the most important things that has been done in this strategic plan is embed diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the goals and objectives of the plan, including strategies for recruiting and retention of diverse faculty, students, and staff.

Ijeoma Ogbonna, UI first-year and senator at-large in Undergraduate Student Government, said it is important for the UI to create DEI-related procedures to ensure continuous work.

“I believe that lots of problems that stems with rectifying issues to achieve DEI is that oftentimes, there’s so much focus on the surface level, which is diversity, and therefore, it’s easy for equity and inclusion to fall on the wayside because it’s not immediately visual,” Ogbonna said.

Executive Vice President and Provost Kevin Kregel told The Daily Iowan in an email that diversity, equity, and inclusion are important goals within the draft of the 2022-2027 Strategic Plan.

“We continue to host listening sessions and focus groups with multiple stakeholders to gather input on the work,” Kregel wrote. “Additionally, in the coming weeks we will launch an online feedback portal for the campus community to provide input.”